Lead by listening
Our ability to lead is built on our ability to observe. A powerful way to do that is through listening. The power of listening is a deep power to have: it creates connections, it spurs ideas and it gains followers.
Listening means moving yourself out of the way to let the thoughts and ideas of others come through. It also means allowing them to have the space to talk while you listen intently without the need to interject or even respond.
Throughout my career, I have been naturally drawn to those things that allow me to listen to people. It might be that I am introvert ( read: I process internally not that I am shy–see that “Diva” name above). I also get excited from “riffing” off other people’s ideas and I feel most confident in my leadership when I have listened.
Where i learned
- Dorm Advisor
Reflective listening: I remember learning about reflective listening as I prepared to take my place as a dorm advisor during college. This type of listening urges the listener to reflect back what you have heard from the person who is speaking. It does not mean “parroting” back verbatim their words. That is annoying. It means synthesizing what they said and then asking them if you understood.
I wish I could say that I practiced this skill with perfection during college with the kids on my floor. I didn’t. I was in my early 20s ( um, who does that?). But I remembered the theory and as I have grown older and I have gotten beyond theory to actual practice.
- Facilitator Continue reading